Who Are You In Your Home? A Money Nerd Or A Free Spirit? A Spender Or A Saver?

Let’s talk about your money personality in your marriage.

We’ve already established that:

And so, next, let’s focus on how these differences between you and your partner can affect the way you both handle money.

Because whether it’s convenient for you or not…

… even though you and your spouse are different…

… even though one person will tend to have a natural love towards budgeting and crunching the numbers…

… BOTH of you still needs to be handling the money; not one person or the other; it’s a joint decision – BOTH of you.

Right now, we’re in the second section of Page 29, under the title ‘Nerds, Free Spirits, and Budget Committee Meetings’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.

And here’s my lesson for the day:

The financial decision making in your marriage has to be done by both you and your partner.

I know there have been times in our marriage, where I simply check the budget and come across some new numbers that I wasn’t expecting. Even though the numbers were perfectly okay and my wife didn’t miss anything…

… seeing those unfamiliar numbers still caught me off-guard, and then we’d have to go through a back-and-forth on who spent how much on what.

And so to avoid that, we’ve been spending more time jointly working on our budgets, finances, and key financial decisions.

It’s okay for either you or your partner to come up with ideas for things you need in your home…

… but BOTH of you should make that final call on whether or not those things should be bought.

According to Dave, there are four major money personality types, and each partner tend to lean towards two of the four types.

1. Nerds

Nerds love crunching the numbers and coming up with a well-planned Excel spreadsheet on how much should be spent on what expense. Nerds do the budget because; a) they see it as an act of love towards their partners; and b) it gives them control on how that money is being spent.

For me, I would say Nerds love planning and organization, they don’t like too many surprises – and they’ll be your go-to-person for planning birthday parties, family events, and small-knit occasions in your family. This would be my wife. She enjoys planning things to the last detail, and it shows in our budget.

Although I love math and enjoy making decisions with data, I tend to focus more on the big decisions that move the needle, for example, making more money, plugging all the ‘money holes’, and making sure any extra money is making us even more money, which brings us to the 2nd money personality…

2. Free Spirits

Free Spirits are not nearly as detailed as the Nerds. When Free Spirits see the Nerds carefully allocate every dollar to the last cent in the budget, they feel restricted and controlled, not cared for. Free Spirits think sitting down to talk about a budget is boring, and isn’t what a couple should be spending their precious weekends or weeknights on.

Free Spirits care about money too; but it’s just that they tend to be more focused on how much more money could be made in those extra 30 minutes being used to talk about the boring budget! Obviously, Free Spirits appear carefree and irresponsible to the Nerds.

That would be me in our home. Normally, I tend to focus more on the top line (our overall income), bottom line (what’s left after all expenses), and not so much what happens in between. However, if I sense that we could be spending less or more in an area, then I get concerned about the budget, and would want a budget meeting!

3. Spender

The Spender believes that we earn money, so we can afford the good things of life; and that if we don’t spend the money, then what’s the point? It’s not that the Spender is wasteful or flamboyant, but spending, shopping, and buying more things to decorate the house and make the house look more functional, gives them internal satisfaction and joy.

That would be my wife in our home. Also, it’s not that Spenders can’t save. In fact, my wife will go the extra mile to be able to save more money, but the Spender will generally be motivated to save so they can be able to spend the money on what they want later on. In other words, saving, for Spenders, is only a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

4. Saver

The Saver feels safe knowing more money is being saved than being spent every month. Naturally, grocery stores won’t love the Saver. Why? Because the Saver will go to the grocery store with a list of things to buy. If an item is not on that list, no matter how enticing or appealing the store makes it look, the Saver is not buying that item.

Savers tend to be minimalists; only buying the things they cannot do without, and neglecting the rest. Savers enjoy the act of saving, and the satisfaction it brings. That would be me in our home.

And I know being a first-generation immigrant probably has something to do with it. If you’ve lived by on way less at some point in your life in a different country, then it’s easy to adjust and drastically cut down, without feeling any pity or shame for yourself. In other words, as an immigrant, what others see as getting by, you see it as living in luxury.

Dave says, “Every marriage has a Nerd and a Free Spirit, and also has a Spender and a Saver.”

More importantly, the Nerd is not always the Saver of the family, and the Free Spirit is not always the Spender in the home.

For example, in my home, my wife’s the Nerd and I’m the Free Spirit. But my wife’s also the Spender and I’m the Saver.

Which is likely because: my wife grew up here in the U.S.; and loves, loves organization, and planning events and things…

… whereas I was raised in Nigeria; and I don’t look forward to planning events – rather I enjoy hosting the actual event, and making the event fabulous and exceptional for everyone.

Outside of personal finance, I enjoy hosting awesome events, for example, as a Nigerian-American Wedding MC.

But my wife and I have tried to not allow these ‘opposites’ in our money personalities to affect our financial decision making.

Both of us jointly share the responsibilities to make the financial decisions in our home.


The financial decision making in your marriage has to be done by both you and your partner.

That’s all for today, my friend. We’ll continue in the fourth paragraph of Page 30 of the book tomorrow.


Over To You

So there you have it – the four money personalities, and where my wife and I stand in each.

How about you? Who are you in your home? Are you a Nerd or Free Spirit? A Spender or a Saver?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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